Instead of competing against millions of ESPN junkies for a random cash prize, why not help fight childhood obesity with your March Madness bracket? March to Health, a fundraiser started by Lex Rofes ’13, aims at doing just that. Before submitting their bracket to the school pools on the site, sports fans are asked to contribute to the charity ‘nPlay, a foundation supported by over 35 athletes (e.g., Grant Hill, Paul Pierce…) that promotes physical fitness in high schools. The added bonus here is that student-athletes are allowed to participate: the NCAA cleared the organization on the simple basis that “it doesn’t constitute gambling: there are no prizes except your own pride” and feeling of doing the right thing.
To Lex, starting March to Health “just made sense.” After starting a similar program in his senior year of high school, “it felt weird and shallow coming back to regular office pools.” So with the help of a few friends and the Sports Business Club, Lex raised about $5,000 last March in the fundraiser’s first year. “But people missed the smaller feel, being able to trash talk friends and compete in smaller subgroups,” he said. This year, 12 schools (including Harvard, UPenn, and Stanford) and a handful of companies have their own subgroups on the website — Lex hopes to add even more next year.
Since he feels that March to Health should keep its college vibe, Lex hopes his project will continue on after he graduates and looks to create similar fundraisers in future jobs. In this case, “it’s really students helping students. [People] try to push aside the positive value of sports, against what Brown is meant to do. But I think sports can be used in so many ways.”